Three closely related species of Festuca exhibiting fine leaf texture are commercially important turfgrasses and are known collectively as the fine fescues. These species are Chewings fescue (CF)[F. rubra L. subsp. fallax (Thuill.) Nyman], strong creeping red fescue (strong CRF)(F. rubra L. subsp. rubra), and slender creeping red fescue (slender CRF)[F. rubra L. var. littoralis (Vasey)]. While fine fescue species are morphologically similar in many characteristics, strong CRF and slender CRF produce rhizomes, but CF does not.
The stubble and straw remaining in grass seed fields after harvesting seed is known as residue. Post-harvest residue burning has been justified on the basis of pest control and stimulation of seed yield. Public concern over air quality and the potential for adverse health impacts on the region’s residents has necessitated the identification of alternative residue management practices. Recent Oregon legislation (SB 528) has, in effect, ended the practice of field burning in the state for most species except for the fine fescues. A better understanding of species-specific responses to residue management in the fine fescues will permit producers to choose the appropriate alternative practices should further restrictions become law.
The University of Idaho’s Brassica Breeding and Research Program put on an excellent field day on July 10th at the University’s Parker Farm outside of Moscow Idaho. Featured were several presentations by Dr. Jack Brown, leader of the program and plant breeder, and other members of the University of Idaho and Oregon State University faculty working on oilseed crops, including our own Dr. Don Wysocki.
Willamette Valley seed producers have endured yet another cold and wet spring. Seed growers are now looking forward to the pleasant dry and warm summer weather that area is well known for to aid in harvest and other field operations. This spring’s weather was both colder and wetter than the long-term averages for the locale. And this combination of cold and wet weather in spring is part of a trend that has been evident for the past four years.
Grass seed crop harvest in Oregon will begin shortly and to maximize harvest efficiency, identifying the best timing for harvest is essential. Seed moisture content has been found to be the most reliable indicator of seed maturity and harvest timing in grass seed crops.
Since pollination and seed maturation are not uniform processes in grass seed crops, a range of seed maturity can be found in a single field. Harvesting within the correct range of seed moisture contents will maximize harvestable seed yield and minimize losses of seed during harvest. Seed moisture content is also an important factor in the storability of harvested seed. High seed moisture content reduces longevity of seed in storage and reduces seed quality. Continue reading →
Seed yields of several important Willamette Valley grass seed crop species have increased over the last 36 years (Fig. 2). Seed yield increases in the region over this period have ranged from 261 lbs/acre for annual ryegrass to 1024 lbs/acre for tall fescue. Continue reading →
My presentation was on our 3-year field study on energy use and efficiency in perennial ryegrass and tall fescue seed crops. Results from the study have been used to create a life-cycle energy budget for these grass seed crops.
Here’s my handout from Hyslop Farm Field Day with more information about the topic: